World Cup

World Cup 2018 – Team Analysis – Switzerland

We continue our Group E team previews with an appraisal of Switzerland, who have qualified for their fourth consecutive World Cup finals.

Ranked sixth in the world, the Swiss are a force to be reckoned with and their squad is perhaps the strongest they have ever assembled.

New Arsenal signing Stephan Lichtsteiner and Stoke City’s Xherdan Shaqiri are two assets Fantasy managers may wish to consider.

Switzerland begin their World Cup campaign in Rostov on Sunday 17 June with a daunting fixture against Brazil. An encounter with Serbia in Kaliningrad follows five days later, before Vladimir Petkovic’s side round off their group itinerary against Costa Rica in Nizhny Novgorod on Wednesday 27 June.

Road to Qualification

Had Switzerland not made it to Russia, theirs would have been the most unfortunate hard-luck story in World Cup 2018 qualification.

Petkovic’s side won the first nine of their ten qualifying matches, before slipping up in the final fixture against Portugal to be denied an automatic qualification spot at the last.

A nervy 1-0 aggregate victory over Northern Ireland in the subsequent play-off round eventually saw the Swiss through to their 11th World Cup tournament, though they were indebted to a hugely controversial penalty award from referee Ovidiu Hategan in their first-leg win over Michael O’Neill’s team.

Switzerland’s qualifying campaign had got off to the best of starts, with recently coronated European champions Portugal – minus Cristiano Ronaldo – caught cold by two unanswered first-half goals in Basel.

A last-minute winner from Valentin Stocker condemned Hungary to a 3-2 defeat in Budapest, before the Swiss registered six straight home-and-away wins over group also-rans Andorra, Faroe Islands and Latvia.

A comprehensive 5-2 thrashing of Hungary in their penultimate fixture took Switzerland to the brink of qualification, before Portugal exacted a timely revenge in Lisbon (an Andre Silva strike and a Johan Djourou own goal sealing a 2-0 win for the Portuguese) to steal top spot on goal difference.

Switzerland’s total of 27 points was the most accumulated by any runner-up in the UEFA qualifying section and would have been enough to win five other groups.

Ricardo Rodriguez’s penalty in Belfast was enough to see off the Northern Irish after 180 minutes of otherwise goalless action in their two-legged play-off.

Petkovic’s team and set-up look very settled going into the opening group matches. The Bosnian coach favoured a 4-2-3-1 formation in qualification and in Switzerland’s subsequent friendlies, on occasion rolling out a 4-3-3 against weaker opposition.

Only two of Switzerland’s 23-man squad failed to feature in a qualifying match (third-choice goalkeeper Yvon Mvogo and recalled striker Mario Gavranovic), while 15 of their World Cup 2014 squad will be present again in Russia.

Most starts: Yann Sommer, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka, Haris Seferovic (11), Xherdan Shaqiri (10), Ricardo Rodriguez, Blerim Dzemaili (9), Johan Djourou (7), Valon Behrami (5), Manuel Akanji, Steven Zuber (4)

Most goals: Haris Seferovic (4), Stephan Lichtsteiner, Ricardo Rodriguez (3), Granit Xhaka, Steven Zuber (2)

Most assists: Xherdan Shaqiri (6), Blerim Dzemaili, Haris Seferovic (3), Ricardo Rodriguez, Valon Behrami (2)

Forward Admir Mehmedi, who scored twice and supplied three assists in nine qualification starts, is Switzerland’s only major absentee through injury.

The Swiss have contested three international friendlies since their play-off victory over Northern Ireland, with 1-0 and 6-0 wins over Greece and Panama respectively backed up by a creditable 1-1 draw with Spain in Villarreal.

The Key Targets

Ricardo Rodriguez (£5.8m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) and Stephan Lichtsteiner (£5.7m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) offer Fantasy managers the prospect of attacking returns from the full-back positions.

The gallivanting Rodriguez popped up from left-back to tap in Switzerland’s equaliser in the 3 June friendly against Spain and scored on three occasions during qualification. Two of those strikes were spot-kicks and the AC Milan defender looks set to be his country’s designated penalty taker in Russia this summer.

The former Wolfsburg player has plenty of goal and assist potential from direct free-kicks and corners too, having created two of his side’s goals during qualification.

Rodriguez recorded clean sheets in six of his nine qualification starts, meanwhile.

Lichtsteiner also popped up with three goals during qualification, all of which were from inside the penalty area during open play – an indication of how gung-ho Arsenal’s recent capture can be from right-back.

The Swiss captain was the creator of Rodriguez’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Spain and recorded an assist during qualification, as well as eight clean sheets in 11 appearances.

Speaking of assists, Xherdan Shaqiri (£6.7m on Fantasy iTeam | £8.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) was the architect of six of Switzerland’s 23 qualifying goals.

Shaqiri is the leading goalscorer in this Swiss squad with 20 goals in 69 international appearances, but scored on only one occasion during qualification.

The Stoke playmaker has World Cup pedigree, of course, having scored a hat-trick in his country’s 3-0 win over Honduras in Brazil four years ago.

Shaqiri, who will likely line up wide right in Petkovic’s preferred 4-2-3-1, scored eight goals and supplied nine assists for the relegated Potters in the Premier League this season.

Haris Seferovic (£6.6m on Fantasy iTeam | £8.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) missed only one qualification fixture and top-scored for Switzerland with four goals, though he is far from prolific at club level: the Benfica striker hasn’t scored more than four league goals in his last three seasons.

Seferovic did contribute three assists during World Cup qualification, however, and got the nod as Switzerland’s sole forward in the 1-1 draw with Spain, suggesting he is still a nose ahead of Mario Gavranovic (£6.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £7.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) and Josip Drmic (£6.7m on Fantasy iTeam | £6.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) in the strikers’ pecking order.

The Long Shots

Outside of Shaqiri, no Swiss player supplied more assists (three) in qualification than Blerim Dzemaili (£6.1m on Fantasy iTeam | £7.0m on McDonald’s FIFA), who looks set to line up in the “number ten” role.

The veteran Bologna midfielder, who like Rodriguez is a threat from free-kicks and shares corner-taking duties, is the only Switzerland player to have started all three of his country’s friendlies since World Cup qualification was sealed.

Dzemaili scored in Switzerland’s wins over Panama and Greece in March.

Breel Embolo (£6.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £6.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) is one of the most exciting prospects in this Switzerland squad. The 21-year-old forward, who can play either up front or on the wing, has struggled at Schalke 04 since his £20m move from Basel in 2016, though a serious injury in his debut season with the German club can largely be blamed for that.

Though he started only three qualifying fixtures, Embolo scored in the 6-0 thrashing of Panama in March and showed glimpses of his former dynamic self in a 45-minute appearance against Spain.

Young defender Manuel Akanji (£5.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £4.5m on McDonald’s FIFA) is now a strong contender for a centre-back berth, with Johan Djourou’s (£5.5m on Fantasy iTeam | £5.0m on McDonald’s FIFA) place at considerable risk. The 22-year-old centre-half moved from Basel to Borussia Dortmund in January for £20m and would offer Fantasy managers the cheapest route into the Swiss defence.

Further Analysis

Our comprehensive World Cup guide can be found here.

Group A Egypt, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay

Group BIran, Morocco, Portugal, Spain

Group CAustralia, Peru, France, Denmark

Group DArgentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Group EBrazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland, Serbia

Group FMexico, Germany, Sweden, South Korea

Group GBelgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group HSenegal, Japan, Poland, Colombia

Our editor’s Fantasy World Cup tips as told to Proper Sport

FANTASY ITEAM

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Click here for details and here to sign up.

Our League name is Fantasy Football Scout and the pin is 1887.

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78 Comments Post a Comment
  1. RedArrows
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 11 days ago

    The Swiss might be interesting this time around. They will probably under-perform again though!

  2. The Big Cheese
    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
    1 month, 11 days ago

    As a neutral, I will be supporting Switzerland

    1. meh
        1 month, 11 days ago

        Swiss cheese

        1. The Big Cheese
          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
          1 month, 11 days ago

          You can tell I am Swiss because you can pull my tool out.

      • PUMPKINHEAD
        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
        1 month, 10 days ago

        As a natural I was Ramos to score the winning goal to silence his haters in style 😆

    2. The Big Cheese
      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
      1 month, 11 days ago

      I seem to recall Schar was the pick of the Swiss defenders at the Euros.
      Lichtensteiner will probably cost more than he is worth so probably a good investment again.

      1. DAZZ
          1 month, 11 days ago

          Rodriguez is the boy, im sure he picked up a few assists, and im sure he scored aswell

          1. DAZZ
              1 month, 11 days ago

              My bad, WC2104 im on about!

            • The Big Cheese
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 11 days ago

              Switzerland scored a grand total of 3 goals at the Euro's

              Schar scored 1 with Shaqiri assist

              Mehmedi scored 1 with1 Djorou assist

              Shaqiri scored one with Derdiyok assist

              So Rodriguez didn't get near a goal apart from in the penalty shoot-out which you would not get points for.

          2. PUMPKINHEAD
            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
            1 month, 10 days ago

            Rodriguez. All about the penalties

        • Quite Big Dunc
            1 month, 11 days ago

            ^
            The article says ‘recently coronated’ instead of ‘crowned’.

            Regards, Duncan (grammar police).

            1. Ógie
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Well spotted.I had to look that up to see the proper use of the word.

            2. Reedy
                1 month, 10 days ago

                You've taught me something there, thanks!

            3. Gareth J
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 10 days ago

              So, is there going to be an official FIFA fantasy game this world cup?

              1. The Big Cheese
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 10 days ago

                The Hamburglar ran off with it.

                Or try tomorrow.

            4. Rupert The Horse
              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
              1 month, 10 days ago

              Urgh.
              Just seen Liverpool lost.
              Watched the game and was just thoroughly underwhelmed. Not much of a spectacle. Felt it was just ruined by the big injury and the keeper giving them the title.
              I supposed this has all been discussed to death though

              Anyway. How’s everyone?

              1. Ógie
                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                1 month, 10 days ago

                To the point that we have been warned off discussing it anymore Rubert. 😉

                1. Rupert The Horse
                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                  1 month, 10 days ago

                  Ah. Missed the boat entirely then.

                  1. Ógie
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    It was a decent final,i must have watched the game back 6 or 7 times at this stage.

                    How did your mission to Africa go?

                    1. Rupert The Horse
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Far better than I had even hoped for. Can’t believe how far the donations went.
                      Got back yesterday and am planning to go back. Absolutely loved every minute.

                      1. Fantasy Gold
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        What did you do with the money?

                        1. Rupert The Horse
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Hey.
                          About 85% went towards the building supplies. 10% towards giving the teachers a wage and 5% to sponsor one very lucky child. They’ll probably get beaten up now though.
                          I also bought about £200 worth of food because I’m so admirable. 🙂

                      2. Spencer
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • Has Moderation Rights
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Great stuff Rupert.

                        1. Rupert The Horse
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Thanks by the way.

                          1. Spencer
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            • Has Moderation Rights
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Well done to you for doing it.

                          2. Fantasy Gold
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Nice one.

            5. Gaz_b
                1 month, 10 days ago

                Who do we all fancy for the Golden Boot then?

                1. meh
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Scotty's brother!

                    1. Fantasy Gold
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Jesus

                  • The Big Cheese
                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                    1 month, 10 days ago

                    Peppa Pig has previous

                    https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4373888/

                    1. Gaz_b
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        cant find odds for Peppa on skybet

                        1. The Big Cheese
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Try Miss Rabbits bookmakers.

                    2. PUMPKINHEAD
                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Scotty will tell us during his next debate

                      1. Fantasy Gold
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Scotty’s article on Golden Boot candidates is imminent

                  • Ahtikullervo
                      1 month, 10 days ago

                      Looks like McDonald's game will start tomorrow as there is on their site FAQ:

                      Q. What are the entry dates for the game?
                      A: McDonald’s FIFA World Cup Fantasy game runs from 7 June 2018 to 15 July 2018 but you may only score points once the 2018 FIFA World Cup™ commences on 14 June 2018.

                      1. Legomané
                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                        • Has Moderation Rights
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Official announcement tweeted yesterday:

                        https://twitter.com/FIFAWorldCup/status/1003997556869718016

                    • drilsby
                        1 month, 10 days ago

                        Özil or Willian? (playing a local variant)
                        Who do you guys think will collect more? And are Willian even nailed with Coutinho, Neymar, Paulinho and Fernandinho vying for spots in the midfield?

                        1. Ógie
                          • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                          1 month, 10 days ago

                          Ozil will have a much higher output for his country than Willian.

                        2. CloudSky
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Ozil.

                          • edgardavids
                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                            1 month, 10 days ago

                            Özil is nailed and performs better for NT.
                            Willian has rotation risk but is in form.

                            I'm playing at RealFevr where Özil costs 10M and Willian costs 8,5M.

                            I would choose Özil over Willian anyway, but for the group stage I'm looking elsewhere.

                          • drilsby
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Cheers!

                              In my variant, they both cost 4m (Hazard for example is 8m), which is relatively cheap at a 50m budget, but can only fit one atm.
                              Going Özil then.

                            1. Ógie
                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                              1 month, 10 days ago

                              Definitely needed some cover there with Valencia being the longest serving player left at the club at 32 years of age.

                              Hopefully this kid has what it takes to take up the mantle in time.

                              1. Fantasy Gold
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Is he any good?

                                1. Jacky boy
                                  • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  No

                                  1. Carcaju
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      No? He's one of the best under 20 players in the world! Great move by Man United

                                      1. Jacky boy
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        Ok

                                  2. Ógie
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Hard to say how he will handle the step up but he done well at underage level and could become a good pro in time with the right help.

                                    I can not say i know too much about the kid besides reading the odd article and watching some youtube compilations which under some skilled editing could make even me look good but i am sure United done their homework and scouted this kid well before they took the plunge.

                                    1. Jacky boy
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Like lindelof

                                      1. Ógie
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        I would not be so harsh on Lindelof or any other player during their first season.

                                        I know he had a tough start but Lindelof seemed to be getting a handle on things when called upon towards the end of last season and i would not be surprised if he done well in the coming season.

                              2. CloudSky
                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                  Diogo Dalot's stats this season:

                                  33 apps
                                  4 goals
                                  8 assists
                                  226 mins per goal / assist

                              3. rdamjan
                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                Best value Telegraph WC defenders? I have Meunier, Gimenez and Godin for now. Probably going with 4 defenders

                                1. 420king
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    You're doing it wrong

                                    1. rdamjan
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Why? First playing TFF:)

                                      1. 420king
                                          1 month, 10 days ago

                                          26 transfers in group stages means you get over 8 changes per GW on average
                                          start with punts and transfers out those that fail (for the likes of Meunier, who plays later)

                                    2. Ask Yourself (Lenin is dead…
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      I’m probably starting with 4 Uruguay defenders and a couple others

                                    3. PUMPKINHEAD
                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      You need a better plan for TFF. Plan what games are played then and either work out your blocks/ semi blocks or attacking daisy chains. Which ever strategy you go with

                                  • McNulty
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Is there a World Cup set pieces table?

                                  • Sadio
                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                    Russia vs Saudi Arabia doesn't look like an entertaining game on paper, but I reckon it could have goals in it.

                                  • CloudSky
                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                      Leicester have now triggered the £3m release clause in Jonny Evans contract. Move could be completed this week.

                                      1. Wibble
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        They've done well there. I thought a bigger club would be in for him.

                                      2. I Member
                                        • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                        1 month, 10 days ago

                                        3m?!?! Even for a relegation release clause that's awfully low.

                                        Leicester doing some decent business.

                                        1. CloudSky
                                            1 month, 10 days ago

                                            Was shocked too. Thats peanuts in todays world. And he is a great defender injuries permitting.

                                      3. CloudSky
                                          1 month, 10 days ago

                                          Clubs with most players at this years WC:

                                          Manchester City 16
                                          Real Madrid 15
                                          Barcelona 14
                                          Tottenham 12
                                          Paris SG 12
                                          Chelsea 11
                                          Manchester United 11
                                          Bayern München 11
                                          Juventus 11

                                        • FlayPlay
                                            1 month, 10 days ago

                                            hi, Fantasy World Cup 2018 - please provide a link (webside or application)

                                            1. stat
                                              • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                              1 month, 10 days ago

                                              Not sure if this has been answered already, but what kind of data will be provided for the World Cup in the Members area?
                                              Cheers

                                              1. FlayPlay
                                                  1 month, 10 days ago

                                                  Fantasy iTeam

                                                  1. stat
                                                    • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                    1 month, 8 days ago

                                                    Cheers

                                              2. stat
                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                                https://fantasy.pre.fifa.com/en/home

                                                Opens tomorrow

                                                1. 420king
                                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                                    will probably be fantasy.fifa.com though

                                              3. Wibble
                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                                Has anyone been watching the Toulon tournament? It's England v Scotland in the semis at 6:30 if I can find a way of watching 😉 😉
                                                It's on free sports whatever that is.

                                              4. TaiwanHC
                                                • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                                What are the chances of Dembele (France) starting?

                                                1. 420king
                                                    1 month, 10 days ago

                                                    can I join your 1k € league?

                                                    1. TaiwanHC
                                                      • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                      1 month, 10 days ago

                                                      If you are a citizen of Sweden, yes.

                                                      Now - what are the chances of Dembele (France) starting?

                                                      Thanks.

                                                      1. 420king
                                                          1 month, 10 days ago

                                                          No, do you guys still take immigrants?

                                                          Was it Paulinho you were considering replacing?

                                                          1. TaiwanHC
                                                            • Fantasy Football Scout Member
                                                            1 month, 10 days ago

                                                            Yes on both questions.

                                                            1. 420king
                                                                1 month, 10 days ago

                                                                Sorry to hear that!

                                                                Anyway, it's too early to tell. Right now I'd say it's too risky since you have no bench but there's still a lot of time to go (and another friendly).